If you’re in the market for a gaming monitor, there are a lot of things you need to take into account: from display resolution to refresh rates and input lag. But most importantly, whether you will be opting for an AMD FreeSync or an NVIDIA G-Sync compatible monitor. While the choice is already made for you depending on your GPU, if you’re building a new Gaming PC, there’s no harm in considering your options beforehand.
Screen-Tearing occurs when there is de-sync between the graphics card and the monitor. Under heavy-loads, the graphics card isn’t able to keep up with the refresh rate of the display. So, one half of the screen displays one frame while the other half some other frame. This can ruin your immersion in a game and sour the experience for you. Moreover, in competitive games, this can be the difference between you losing or winning the match.
While you can use V-Sync to combat this issue, it is not exactly an ideal solution. Here’s why: V-Sync causes a huge amount of input lag. Suppose you’re playing a competitive FPS where the only difference between winning and losing one round often comes down to one bullet. If you have V-Sync on, the screen will take time to smoothen the frames before and after you take the shot. This will lead to delayed reaction time and probably result in a round loss. Moreover, V-Sync doesn’t allow you to take advantage of higher refresh rates as it locks your frames to 60.
To combat this issue, graphics card and monitor manufacturers have come up with the solution of adaptive sync. NVIDIA’s solution to this issue is G-Sync while AMD’s is FreeSync. But is one better than the other? Let’s find out.
AMD FreeSync vs NVIDIA G-SYNC Features:
Both FreeSync and G-Sync use the same technology where the monitors support variable refresh rates. In the early days, G-Sync used to be a $200 kit that users could install into their monitors. But manufacturers soon started implementing it within the displays itself. AMD FreeSync is, however, free of cost and released initially as a part of DisplayPort 1.2a.
Since both implement the same technology, there shouldn’t be much of a difference between the two. Ideally, you shouldn’t be able to tell the two apart. The current standard of G-Sync Ultimate and AMD FreeSync 2 supports HDR content as well. FreeSync 2 support requires a DisplayPort 1.4 to work. Included are support for 144Hz, HDR10, 4K, and the P3 color gamut. G-Sync supports all of the above but costs a bit more than the former. Recently, NVIDIA has also labeled certain FreeSync monitors as G-Sync Compatible. These monitors require an NVIDIA 10-Series GPU but lack HDR support.
AMD FreeSync vs NVIDIA G-SYNC Gaming Performance:
While the performance will vary from monitor to monitor, there are some general conclusions that can be drawn. FreeSync-enabled monitors generally have a better contrast ratio and better picture quality as compared to their G-Sync counterparts. When it comes to input-lag however, the answer is much more nuanced.
At higher framerates (100+ FPS), FreeSync has marginally lesser input-lag. However, at lower frames (40-60 FPS), G-Sync offers better performance with much less input lag. That said, your monitor isn’t the only factor. In fact, the graphics card has the most pronounced impact on your gaming performance. If your GPU can easily sustain 100+ frames in most demanding, you shouldn’t have much of a problem with screen-tearing, blurring or input-lag. To get the most out of your gaming rig and the best visual fidelity, you can follow these simple steps:
- Tone-Down the resolution of the game or tone-down the graphics to decrease the load on your GPU. If your game supports “dynamic-resolution”, use it.
- Use the hardware-acceleration feature if your game supports it. This would improve the frames in cut-scenes.
- Use triple-buffering; some modern-titles even sallow for multiple extra frames to be rendered to the CPU. This gives enough time to the game to correct issues like frame-desynchronization. However, make sure your GPU has enough memory to do so.
So, should you opt for an AMD FreeSync-enabled monitor or an NVIDIA G-Sync-enabled one? There isn’t much of a difference when it comes to performance really. Ideally, both should suffice for less screen tearing, input lag, and blurriness. However, one important thing to keep in mind is that G-Sync enabled monitors require an extra module that results in them being more expensive as compared to their AMD counterparts. That said, a similar monitor from the same manufacturer will cost more for G-Sync technology. So, the best option is for you to get a FreeSync-compatible monitor that will support both Radeon and GeForce cards. Check out our guide for the best gaming monitor for more insight.